ARC REVIEW: “Slayer” by Kiersten White 💭 In Every Generation, There is A Chosen One(s)

Slayer (Slayer, #1)

Title: Slayer
Author: Kiersten White
Pages: 416

Released: January 8 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover

Genre: Supernatural
Goodreads Rating: 3.84 (of 56 ratings)

 


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Summ

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.


rev

Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Simon Pulse through NetGalley. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

I imagine the drafting process for this novel included a meeting somewhat like this: “Kiersten. You must now make a choice. For Slayer, will you target A) readers who have only watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer or B) readers who have watched BtVS and read the comics or C) the readers who make up your dedicated fanbase but have not touched any Buffy-based media?” And Kiersten White said, “Why not all of them?”

Slayer accommodates new and old Buffy fans alike, but not without a few bumps in the road.  I’m well-versed in all things Buffy seasons one to seven, and White condensed the main facts — why vampires are major icksters, how Buffy got to be the icon she is today, what the heck a slayer is — quite well. I never read the comics, but I got all the important facts as well: Seed of Wonder, no more magic, okay, yes, alright. The issue became less “wait, what does that mean” and more “okay, but can *this* version actually start?” White spends almost 30% of the book explaining who is who, what is what, and why everything is happening.  The first third of the book is so heavy on info-dumps I started scrolling forwards, eager for the action to begin. Main character Athena (Nina)’s actual actions feel drowned out by the many times she “pauses” to give information to the reader. Considering I skimmed several of these pages, and still understand the entirety of the book, I believe a lot of this info was unnecessary and just weighed down on the plot.

Once I broke through what I loosely refer to as the “introductory section,” though, I was hooked. Nina’s character arc focuses on understanding her role as slayer: what it means within her family and what it means in relation to Buffy and the many other Chosen Ones. I love that in Slayer, Nine knows about the world of Slayers, that she has seen everything they can do, before she realizes she will be part of that world as well. Not to mention Nina has trained her entire life as a nurse — as a Slayer, she must fight her trained instincts to heal. White brought up several points about decisions and how we make them and … just the scene with Cillian and the decision Nina makes. That scene. If you know, you know. Putting Nina’s two worlds up against each other makes for such an interesting read and exploration of Slayer identity!

There are moments in this book for die-hard Buffy fans. No, do not expect Buffy to walk in and start strutting around. This is Nina’s story. But there are fun parallels to Buffy’s own Slayer journey. Not to mention how amazing the fight scenes were. I swear I was watching a Buffy episode in my mind. White wrote the absolute best fight scenes in this bookThey felt so true to BtVS with the moves, the quick thinking, and the inventiveness.

The charactersThere are definitely standouts in this book. I liked Nina for her journey and willingness to be herself, even if everyone else (literally, everyone) had already made up their minds on who she should be. A demon comes in later who is the absolute best and so much comedic relief and again: so much BtVS feels. For the most part, Nina and Artemis’ relationship was the strong sibling bond we love to see in our books. Rhys and Cillian were good, I just wish they had more page time! As for other characters, well, let’s just say there is so much duplicity I don’t even know who is who or who to like or what was what. Which, I mean, outside of the Scooby Gang, kinda classic Buffy? I think by book two I will have nailed down my Spikes (evil but you want redeemed) and my Giles’ (okay but also like half the characters are Watchers so it’s hard though!).


Rating

I’m awarding this book 3.5 crowns. The beginning was just so hard to get into. I put it down three times at the start because the writing was so dry. Then after that “introductory section” I was flowing forwards with crazy action scenes, witty humour, and so much character enjoyment. Yes, I recommend, but do be aware the beginning takes a moment.

three-stars

How much do you know about the world of the slayers? Are you ready to dig in deeper and answer the call?

shalogo

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48 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: “Slayer” by Kiersten White 💭 In Every Generation, There is A Chosen One(s)

  1. Oooh I so want to read this because I will sell my soul for anything KW writes, I guess it’s a pretty tall order to fill people in about Buffy and still have a fast-paced book. This is a really helpful review thankyou!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it takes a bit to get into. There’s the new characters that White introduces, and then the events that happened in the Buffy comics that influence a lot of plot lines in the book, AND the original Buffy TV show monster lore to explain. Saying it’s “a lot to explain” is an understatement.

      What would have been is a pre-release of a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” field guide or something, so newcomers could catch up on Buffy lore.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t too upset about the slow beginning, since the heart of the story still got to me. I do think it will deter some readers. And for sure if you’re not already a Buffy fan, it’s not the first thing you’ll want to read. Stick to ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN, which Kiersten also slays! XD

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the warning Sha! I have pre ordered this one so now I know what to expect and not to be deterred by the beginning. Honestly I began The dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein two days ago but had to stop after a few pages as I was not “in” right from the start. Yet I love Kiersten White’s books. I guess I will give this book a second chance another day 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read a lot of Kiersten’s books, but a running theme with her writing seems to be that her intros are hard to get into. In the case of SLAYER, I can really understand because of all the information that needed to be included so readers knew the context. But definitely important to know, so you don’t pick up this book when you’re close to a reading slump!

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  3. I am unsure about this book. I liked Buffy to some extent but was not an ardent fan.. So I want to read this just for Buffy. Great review… I think my points would be similar to yours

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Shalini. I was (and still am) a super huge Buffy fan, which motivated me to get this book. I saw a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer parallels within the book (in the humour, in some of the characters, in the romances) but White still made SLAYER unique. It really was a 3.5 kind of read, but I did enjoy it. I hope you get around to reading, maybe as a loan instead of a purchase.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh I hate info dumps! That really bothers me, I would’ve skimmed as well. Overall it sounds very interesting. Thanks for the great review!

    I made my review format simpler but after reading yours I’m wondering if I shoukd going back to the longer version. 😁💙

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    1. Info dumps are the woooorst. It was a struggle to get through, but I know White had a lot of information to give out at the beginning. I’m not sure how I would have handled it all myself.

      Haha, try looking at my other reviews. I think I change my format every other day. I did a mini review once that ended up longer than this one? It’s an interesting style.

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  5. Great review! I agree with your rating a lot. The worldbuilding for this book was super slow, but I understand that Kiersten had to write in such a manner so that readers unfamiliar with the BTVS universe would still understand the story. Anyways, I’m glad you enjoyed the book (for the most part lol)! (:

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review Mandy! First books always seem to have a bit of info dump (especially in YA fantasy/paranormal) which can be a DRAG! The characters really made this book for as well as the witty humor which I see you also enjoyed yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Appreciate the compliment Jamie! First books do suffer from that info dump struggle. The characters definitely shone in this one for me. I loved Nina’s internal struggle and the parallels between her journey as a Slayer with Buffy’s (even while she rejected the Buffy love).

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  7. I just bought the complete series of Buffy on Vudu again just last night because it was on sale for $59 and I got rid of my dvds when they were on Netflix. IDK why I got rid of them, but it was at the time when I thought Netflix kept everything once it was on. It was still new to me then.

    But anyway, would you recommend catching up with the whole show again since it’s been years since I last watched an episode? Or does the beginning do it well enough if it’s been awhile? I’m adding this to my TBR! Nice review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG the whole thing for 59? (WAIT is it not on Netflix anymore??? I haven’t checked recently. Last time I wanted to watch it was there….)

      Oh no, you don’t have to be fresh with Buffy the Vampire Slayer to understand the book. For the book, you just need general vampire/monster/slayer lore from the TV show. There are a few in-jokes, but you won’t miss content.

      What you COULD catch up on would be the comics, because that was a bit confusing to me. But I didn’t read the comics, and Kiersten still caught me up. Let me know what you think when you read this!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t checked but I remember never seeing it for me at least whenever I was in the mood. I probably should have checked for sure before buying it but I didn’t want to miss the deal. Now I can watch it whenever I want to.

        That’s good! And I never have been one to get into comics, manga, etc. 😦 They just aren’t for me. I still definitely want to read this book maybe after watching season one because it’s been years.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nooooo this is terrible. I saw another comment about Buffy not being on Netflix today, on Twitter. It must be reality. Now I need to find a box set, because that is my favourite series to binge. I can’t believe they took it off!

        Yeah, I’m picky about comics. I would have read Buffy comics, except I didn’t like the plot lines. I loved how the show ended!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have a Buffy confession that will shock you. I’m so sorry in advance!

        I never watched the last season. I’ve heard about it though! I got up to season five or six. I remember Riley. And Dawn. So whatever seasons those were I left off of. I did not have cable in high school at my mom’s. I missed all of the shows I wanted to watch, and my best friend mainly got me caught up with The O.C. and One Tree Hill whenever I was at her house. Oh and she tried to get me to watch scary movies with her. I hid under my blanket the whole time mostly, LOL.

        That’s another reason why I need to go back and watch the show! I loved the show to pieces though.

        And then in college I never had time to binge watch my DVDs except for during breaks. I role played and read and wrote when I was not doing homework. Oh, and I worked part time too.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Colleen. Colleen. HOWWWW. HOWWWWW. I mean, you explained how but like HOOOWWW. You absolutely nEED to get to the final season of Buffy ASAP omigosh. Like it’s just ahhh. So emotional and a perfect end (if there can truly be a good way to accept that something you love so much has to end). Hearing can never truly = seeing on the screen.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I know, that was why I apologized ahead of time, haha. I always meant to, but those things kept me from it. And is it sad that I remember Buffy being on cable TV before we didn’t have it anymore? There was two whole years I didn’t have cable except when I went to my dad’s house but nothing was ever on then and that was before DVR existed and we had to buy tapes to record shows instead.

        But now that I have all of the seasons again I can watch from the beginning. Now I just have work full-time and no college. 😉

        Wow, this stuff makes me feel really old. At least I don’t look my age.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. But it’s so cool to experience a show when it’s still running. You get the excitement of waiting for the next episode, and the thrilling fear of “will I miss it? can I make it to the kitchen for a snack before commercials end?” It’s a special kind of experience that you can’t get from Netflix or all the other streaming apps nowadays.

        Haha, but age = wisdom, right? That’s what I’m told all the time!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Right! I had to look up when it aired and saw it definitely was the middle school years when I got into it. They showed reruns a lot too. I had just gotten into high school during the last season or something like that.

        And thats right!

        I just watched the episode where that one kid becomes the annoited one in season one. I didn’t have time to watch the show this weekend or read very much. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Oh I have another Buffy confession. I know I’ve seen most episodes before. But I can only handle it for a few moments at bed time because I’m a chicken if anything is remotely scary. And I tell myself it’s just vampires stuff.

        But if I suspect it’s going to get scary even the slightest I turn Gilmore Girls on until the next night after work. I run around all paranoid if I watch scary stuff at night. I’ve always been like that. But I’m seriously fine right after work with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this universe and I’m really excited to dive into the story – even if it seemed a little mixed for you. I’m hoping that since it’s a series, she’ll now be able to focus more on the actual story than building the backstory for people that might not be familiar with the world or additional continuity.

    Liked by 1 person

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